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Impact of fisheries on sea turtles

The bycatch of sea turtles by industrial fisheries is receiving an increasing attention in recent years due to the high impact it causes on these endangered species. This issue was evaluated in southern Spain waters that harbors an important feeding ground of loggerhead and leatherback turtles, including the endangered Eastern Atlantic loggerhead population. To quantify the impact that different fisheries represents to sea turtles, 272 fishermen answered to detailed illustrated questionnaires in all the main ports of Andalusia and Murcia (Spain) during 2014. This study has updated the knowledge of turtle bycatch in the southwestern Mediterranean revealing a widespread impact of fisheries on sea turtles. Fishermen recognized an annual catch of 2.3 turtles per boat. Considering the census of industrial fishing boats in the study area (1182), more than 2840 sea turtles could be bycaught per year in the study area. Most of captures (96.2%) were produced during the summer. These results suggest a severe impact of most of legal fisheries (surface longline, pursue seine, trawling and small scale fisheries) on loggerhead feeding grounds in the southwestern Mediterranean. Fishermen suggests that drift fishing conducted by foreign or illegal fishermen and almadrabas are also causing a significant bycatch of turtles. Several measures such as reviewing compliance of current fishing and environmental regulations, modifying turtle technics to reduce turtle bycatch (e.g. reduction of the use of squid as bait and disposal of hooks deeper in the water column), facilitating the rescue and handle of wound turtles and their transport to the port for recovery, and recognizing the efforts of anglers to perform a more sustainable fishing, are recommended to mitigate this impact. informacion[at] Marco et al (2020) Sea turtle bycatch by different types of fisheries in southern Spain. Basic and Applied Herpetology
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Shorebirds disperse a wide variety of plants along the Atlantic flyway

Shorebirds disperse a wide variety of plants along the Atlantic flyway

Almost no empirical work has been done before on the plants dispersed by migratory shorebirds (Charadriiformes). By sampling faeces and regurgitated pellets in Doñana (Spain), England, Ireland and Iceland, scientists found intact seeds of 27 plant taxa, only four of which have a fleshy fruit widely considered diagnostic for this "endozoochory" dispersal process. Furthermore, 89% of the seeds were from terrestrial plants that are broadly distributed along the Atlantic flyway. Shorebirds are excellent vectors for long-distance dispersal (LDD), and seeds were carried by birds at the beginning or end of migratory flights between England and Iceland. This work suggests that seed morphology alone cannot predict LDD mechanisms, and that aquatic plants are not the only ones dispersed readily by shorebirds. Four alien species were dispersed, including the buttonweed Cotula coronopifolia which had a germination rate of 45% after gut passage, and is spreading quickly in coastal wetlands frequented by shorebirds. informacion[at] Lovas-Kiss et al 2018. Shorebirds as important vectors for plant dispersal in Europe. Ecography doi: 10.1111/ecog.04065